Friday, 27 February 2009

Modernist design - 50s and now

When you have a 70s house and you're looking for ideas to renovate and improve most people would turn to modern homes and the usual display homes. We haven't done that. For lots of reasons - mostly, because we like quirky or unusual design.

I am starting to think if you like the gorgeous old 50s homes and their modernist outlook then perhaps the natual leaning is the clean style of upmarket architecture of today. I say upmarket as these homes have obviously taken a dollar or so so to design and build - but I would think you could do something like these on a smaller 'budget' scale.

I love clean lines. I love modernist - not modern - but modernist. Clean, basic...almost emotionless. I love the photo below - the house is just so of the element, isn't it? I also love the one above - basic colourway, different materials (well, for me, anyway) and the basic design of yard/pool and abode.

One side of me thinks so the normal and reno our house with affordable tools and affordable materials etc...and then the other half says no! - break out to unusual ground and do something you can afford, but something that's quirky, eye-catching and simple.

Problem is - can you make a kitsch 70s double brick house something you'll never forget?

All of these images are from Steven Holl's website. Take a look and prepare to have your breath sucked right out of you.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Looking forward while going back

I am finding the older I get the more I look back. Back to my teens. Back to my 20s. I wonder why? Is it the poignancy of the teen years and the utter passion of life driving your days and weeks and months - or the late teens and early 20s when life opened up in all of its majesty...and you found yourself finally shopping alone at supermarkets and thinking "sheesh - is this all there is to it?".

I am thinking a lot about ways to make our property greener, kinder to the earth. We thought going solar was the way to go but as we have natural gas we've been told to hold off as prices are sure to plummet in the coming months. We thought solar electricity would be wonderful as well but apparently you have to shove a crap-load of them on your roof to carry the supply our house and family need. Best to wait.

Things I thought about today:

1. Can't wait 'til the weekend when I can have a really good crack at making my first homemade bread
2. Wondering if I could sneak a look at our first Bokashi dump in our backyard
3. Getting peeved at people who offer to sell you fabric, give you a length of fabric, agree on postage and price and then, when I get it, find out the fabric is not as described and postage was three times what it cost them...shame, shame...
4. Wondering if I should do more freelance writing cos I love writing
5. Thinking about growing up listening to Split Enz and listening to them on YouTube
6. Worrying about the hideous weather coming Victoria's way once again tomorrow...

I'll leave you with a lovely kitsch 1984 love song :)...more fabric going up onto the website soon (including the one pictured above)...I think the Sunday Market is going to be flooded in the next week or so!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

bake your own bread, white bread, bread recipe

Okay, peoples. I have two super huge bread tins in my kitchen. I need to use them. Need to bake yummy homemade bread. Problem is, can't find a trusted white or wholemeal or multigrain bread recipe. Anyone out there have one they would like to share??

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Your Personal "Flying Carpet"

Yes thanks - one of these, too...

Future Homes

Future Homes
Originally uploaded by Fun House
Umm....can I have a climate controlled house, too, please?

1956 GE Wall Refrigerator - um...where do I get one of these?

Ummm...excuse me...where is this technology now?? I want one, please...

Thursday, 19 February 2009

EGAD! - Alexander Henry at Retro Age

EGAD! A modern fabric - a very modern fabric - found its way to us in a box of vintage fabrics. As you know, we don't 'sell' new fabrics so this one is being sold whole!

I've put this Alexander Henry fabric in our Retro Age Sunday Market part of the website as it's only $30.00 - a steal! You can find the listing here. Don't forget - we cover the postage Australia-wide, too!

If you love modern fabrics and cotton sateens don't miss out on this one! He's very lonely here with all of this old fabric...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The dream vintage home

Anyone who knows us or who follows this blog regularly will know we love vintage mags and the vintage aesthetic.

We found this article in House and Garden USA, 1969 and it is definitely Justin's dream home. It's round, kinda space age and it rotates. Yes, rotates.

The article is a great read and the plan is just interesting. We wish they still designed houses like this these days...well, they do, but they are still so bloody expensive!

We're slowly working away through our own reno and rejuvenation plans. Starting with solar power and solar hot water. Learning to keep things to a minimum.

Still haven't narrowed down the flooring. Still thinking polished concrete for heat/insulation reasons but I know some houses can echo with this finish...

Other than that - we need to find this home and buy it today :)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Vintage fabric royalty

Every now and then a fabric design really holds you. You know - you've seen a billion designs and then one goes wham! aren't I beautiful, bet I gotcha heart now. This blend is one of them. A gorgeous peacock feather border print. If you're in the market for peacock feather fabric it's going on the website soon-ish...and it's the only piece we have...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Vintage fabric routine...

Sometimes life goes by in its usual routine. Like today was Kitchen Monday...which means everything else is tidied and the kitchen utterly cleaned. Boring. Or perhaps you'd like to know about the yum Queen Pudding I baked yesterday. Salivated. Five-year-old wouldn't have a bar of it but we devoured it. Or perhaps you'd be interested to know 50 new fabrics went into our stall at the Newcomb Mill Markets in Geelong and we're got around 30 going onto the website this week. Better.

We're headed up to Melbourne on Saturday for some fabric business. While there we're making a day of it. If you live in Melb and have rug rats what would you recommend - Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Museum or Scienceworks? The five-year-old loves the zoo and museum but we've never been to scienceworks - thoughts?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Striving to return to normality

It is hard in times like this to return to normal living. It feels like I'm cheating...I feel slightly guilty. I feel like I should be doing everything possible to help those who have been misplaced by the firestorms - I have donated, but I can't do much physically with a family etc. Still - I feel slightly guilty...

But today I decided not to read the papers and haven't watched the news. I need a break from the doom, gloom and heartwrenching stories.

So I returned to the joy of vintage fabrics. I took shots of some of my favourites and got swept away in their gorgeous colour and design.

I wanted to do something I love. So, apart from spending time with the boys, reading and creating, I looked and worked with the fabric. Felt a little more like myself - but there's still so much work to be done :(

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

We share this world - and some share it better than others...

In the face of devastation images stay with you for life. Some horrendous - some that bring you to tears but in a positive way. This magnificent image is one of them. A Country Fire Authority is giving a koala a drink...part of the Vic bushfires tragedy...

Monday, 9 February 2009


Victoria is a state in mourning today. Thus far we have lost 135 lives, 700+ homes, innumerable hectares of public and private land and thousands of head of livestock, pets and wildlife. The bush fires are still going. I am thinking of the 5000+ homeless people - the refugees of these super-fires, and I can't help but think how blessed I am. I am humbled in the sight of this horror and am thankful for what I - and my family and friends - have.

There are no words to describe this

My state of Victoria in the country of Australia faced one of its greatest threats on Saturday 7 February 2009. It was a day of 47 degree heat, hot northerly winds and a dry country after years of drought.

This meant fires. Enormous bushfires. Awful deathly fires. That killed. Killed more than 80 people (as of writing this), erased more than 700 homes and more than 3000 people are now homeless.

It was our worst natural disaster in modern history. It is our worst natural disaster. We are still living through it. The fires are still burning and on the move.

If you have a spare $1 or so visit here. There are people - young, old, alone, with loved ones - who need our help to get back on their feet. Kiddies. Grannies. Average Joes. People who we meet every day.

May these times never visit us again. May the people who are with us no longer rest in peace. May those who are here rebuild and prosper. May those of you touched by these terrible times find love, solace and a shoulder to cry on or lean on or hug from your nearest neighbour.

Our hearts are very heavy this evening...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Vintage fabric pouch - seconds

We have a small collection of gorgeous vintage fabric pouches that are seconds. You know, a little something funky about them - different funkiness for each, too:). All are completed and in perfect working order and all are reinforced with fine wool wadding. If you would like any of them please let us know via the comments - each one is only $7 to cover postage and packaging to you (Australia only). International would be an extra $5 for postage...

1. The one at the top of the blog is a little money purse made with rare 1960s barkcloth and lined with 1970s Panton style dot fabric. Gorgeous save for a crooked zip. THIS POUCH IS NOW SOLD

2. The one above is made with lovely 1960s cotton with an orange and pink psychedelic design and lined in pure orange crepe. It is 12" wide. Absolutely fine save for one small 1mm mark on one side on the pink - and the mark is a slightly darker pink.

3. The one above is absolutely fine bar a slightly crooked zip. Same fabrics as number #2. Also 12" wide. THIS ONE IS NOW SOLD.

4. The pouch above is 12" wide and made with 1970s sunburst fabric and lined with 1960s atomic geometric yellow. The zip is crooked.

5. The pouch above is 12" wide and made with orange 1960s fabric and lined with a 1970s orange op art blend. Fine save for a slight crooked line on the base and a small 1mm mark on the inside near the bottom.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Solar hot water systems - NSW and Victoria

I haven't researched this a great deal as our hot water system is gas, but if you visit Easy Being Green they have a great offer for solar hot water systems if you have an electric based system and you live in Vic or NSW...I wish we were eligible!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A vintage fabric estate purchase...

We have had another wonderful weekend after a very average end to last week. I unfortunately needed to get a gastroscopy as post gallbladder removal by abdomen has been very tender and temperamental. They give you a general anaesthetic for this procedure and while only a little whoozy on the day, the day after was a shocker...seedy, air-head etc. And that was another 40 degree day so and we also lost power here for a bit - so a very average end to the week :)

We took off to Melbourne early on Saturday morning as we had a small vintage fabric estate collection to pick up. I thought I would take some crappy shots to show you what can comprise an estate collection.

Some people get suspicious when you show them two fabrics that come from different eras and say they came from the same estate - I think people are under the impression 'estate' automatically means old and all alike. Estate collections are not like that at all - some are, most aren't.

Hence why I thought I would take shots of this little estate. The lady sold her Mother's collection of fabrics as her Mum had recently been popped into a home and no longer needed them :( - but her daughter wanted them to go to a good home (and eventually to other good homes) so she contacted us in late December to see if we would be interested in purchasing.

The deal was done by email as the lady photographed the fabrics and already had a price in mind. As there were too many metres to post we took Saturday morning off and travelled up to western Melbourne.

As you can see this collection varies both in quality and in era. If you have a fabric stash you'll know what I mean - there are always the 'top shelf' fabrics and the everyday.

Another thing with estate collections is they vary in presentation. Some people are fastidious with their fabrics - folding them inside out (so dust etc can't get onto the printed side) and lock them away from light. Some people store them in air tight containers. Some people shove them in the linen closet and let them lie there for decades.

So the fabrics we collect can vary from pristine condition to in dire need to TLC and a washing machine. This collection had both - some are in remarkable condition, but most have storage marks and shall need to be washed before being offered for sale.

We often get asked how people should store their stash - meaning, what is best for history? We recommend allowing the fabrics to air with mothball/deterents in the area, but actually not touching the fabrics.

We also recommend not washing the fabrics until you want to use them. This is mainly for value purposes. Unused and unwashed vintage fabric is by far more valuable than a washed or used fabric. Unwashed means in as bought condition - ie, stiff, original hand (feel and drape) and with the original ink, as manufactured. It may mean there are storage marks, but at least the fabric vitality is still there.

Do we buy washed vintage fabric? It depends. If they are part of an estate collection (ususually bought as a whole), then, yes. But if we have a choice, then no, we usually don't. We come across so many people who offer us fabrics and who have washed the fabric (sometimes in bleach, sometimes in the most perfumed soap they can find etc) and we pass up on the sale as the fabrics just don't have that life that original, non washed fabric does.

I'll leave you with the photos to look at - there is a lot more to say on estate collections but we have a five-year-old gearing up for Prep (primary school) tomorrow so I am all alive and excited getting his things ready...he is so ready, so excited, so can't believe I am a big boy. I am so proud of him :) - so, no vintage fabric for the remainder of the night or tomorrow morning, just the thoughts on how far Logan has come in five years, how far we have come as parents and just being thankful for the life and love we have :)

A special best wishes for all you Mums and Dads out there with children starting Prep this year - I hope the first day of school is wonderful and full of special memories!